Congestion Charging Technology Trials in London
Steve Kearns, Transport for London, UK
This paper summarises the trials currently taking place in the Central London Congestion Charging zone, which are examining various forms of technology which might be utilised by future road pricing schemes.
1. BACKGROUND OF CENTRAL LONDON CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME - Operation, Impacts, Lessons Learnt
2. WHY TfL IS CARRYING OUT TECHNOLOGY TRIALS
- Making the scheme more user friendly, eg to create new user facilities such as Auto Pre-Payment.
- Need to evolve to a more sophisticated operational system that could offer facilities such as differential tolling rates based on criteria like direction of travel, time of day, class of vehicle etc.
- Reducing the operating costs of the scheme.
3. WHAT IS TfL TRIALLING?
- Earlier trials undertaken (GPS (satellite based); GSM (mobile phone based); Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) with supporting camera system
- Conclusions of earlier trials - DSRC more suited to urban environment in medium term than other systems
- Urban Tag and Beacon' (DSRC) supported by ANPR camera system.
- Value Added Services ; (Series of alerts sent directly to drivers eg Entry into Zone and Payment alerts; Account balance and top-up facility; traffic alerts; local news and community events).
- Enhanced GPS trials investigating distance based charging based on simulation of future GALILEO constellation, using techniques to analyse each segment of the carriageway and assign a notional charging tariff to it.
4. LOCATION OF TRIAL AREA
- Southwark mini zone : Details of this area; why it was chosen; need to engage with local council, community representatives and other major stakeholders to gain wider 'ownership' of the trials.
5. MANAGEMENT OF TRIALS
- Creation of in-station
- Volunteer recruitment; information packs; newsletters etc.
- Need to create numerous and complex trial routings for volunteers.
6. EMERGING ISSUES
- Civil engineering and installation of roadside infrastructure
- Aesthetics of infrastructure in dense urban environment; need to avoid intrusive equipment such as overhead gantries.
- Diversity and chaotic nature of urban traffic patterns (eg vehicles straddling carriageway lanes; unuual manoeuvres such as U-turns; obscuration of vehicles etc.)
- Health and Safety implications of trials
- Highly variable topography
- Wider policy context (Choice of technology could be determined by type of charging scheme eg Area or Cordon)
- Extensive groundtruthing necessary to undertake accurate enhanced GPS trials.
- Involvement of European Space Agency to provide emulation software related to future GALILEO satellite coverage.
- Battery drain linkage to roadside infrastructure
7. RESULTS TO DATE
- Encouraging performance of linked DSRC and ANPR capture rate; close to 100%
- Results of GPS generally better than initially expected.
- Should be able to provide more results by Summer 06.
Association for European Transport